Happy 2012!!!

Posted January 1st, 2012 (5:31 pm) || 5 Comments

Well, we now have less than 12 months before the end of the world. Even now rumors of apocalyptic destruction are flying about the delusional half of the new age crowd. If such foretellings are true, the Earth shall be consumed by a black hole, annihilated (somehow) by the solar maximum, or collide with Nibiru. Some also believe 2012 will actually issue in an age of enlightenment and peace in some kind of “Age of Aquarius”. But if you believe all the futurist sci-fi literature, all we can really expect is the total economic collapse America and a possible religious takeover of the government.

2011 was an… interesting year. This has been my first year since becoming unemployed from a full-time permanent job that I’ve not worked or earned any money at all. None. I’ve gotten a few interviews but nothing that’s actually progressed all the up to a pay check. I’ve also received no freelance work. Fortunately DeAnna is still gainfully employed and her job alone can cover the majority of our expenses. I know I can’t expect to receive unemployment benefits forever, and they are really dwindling now, but the supplemental income is helping to make ends meet. Seeing as how I can expect them to run out sometime in February I’m going to expand my job search to part-time and minimum wage positions, as any wage is better than no wage.

Back in October I receive a new smartphone for my birthday. It’s a Samsung T-499, which is kinda low-end, but function and does all those things I want a smartphone to do. I’m actually quite impressed with it. Even without installing any apps it was capable of just about everything I was looking for in a phone. A few apps later and it can now do things I never expected a phone to do (such as roll dice and look up rules for RPGs). I’m gonna have to get DeAnna one of these for her birthday, provided we have the income to afford the extra $35/month T-Mobile wants for 3G service.

Our cat Ember is now over a year old and has spent a full year with us. She is still so tiny. Here is a (blurry) photo of her:

ember3

We lost Jared this year. He was old, but not ancient, but very sick. I’ve had Jared since he was a kitten. I adopted him from the Humane Society, almost by accident. I had given a friend a ride so she could adopt a cat of her own, and I had asked to see a black kitten only a month or so old while I was waiting. As it turned out, she could not adopt as her apartment management could not be contacted to confirm they allowed pets, but rather than leaving empty handed she paid for my adoption of the kitten, which I named Jared. That was so long ago. I miss you Jared.

With our loss of Jared, we’ve considered getting a new kitten to keep Ember company, though we wanted to wait until after the new year to look. I’m not sure what we’ll be looking for but as with Ember, I’m sure something will come up and just the right time and will be perfect.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my cousin Mark moved in. His job is going well, though I’m not sure if it’s paying him enough to give him any independence. This coming year I’m hoping he’ll look into getting financial aid and get into school for something better. Any amount of independence won’t happen until after college, but he’ll be working in that direction and will be expanding his network of people he knows here in Phoenix. I’m worried he doesn’t get out enough, but who am I to talk?

Another one of our friends moved up to Seattle just prior to Thanksgiving. It seems that’s really the place to go, as we now know more people living up there than we do locally. Kinda weird since a long time ago DeAnna and I had decided if we were going to move anywhere but here, it’d be to Seattle. It’s comforting to know what once we make the move we’ll already know so many people there.

In the gaming world, my MMO of choice, City of Heroes, went free to play. This thrills me to no end. There are still plenty of perks to having a paid subscription, but it’s good to know if I can’t make the subscription payment for a month or two I can still play. My other MMO of choice (Lord of the Rings Online) went free to play last year, and I’m loving that as well. My new D&D campaign is going surprisingly well, though I’m still aching to actually play something rather than be the GM all the time. One of my players has offered to run, and is interested in taking over as GM for my campaign. I’ve never handed over the reins of my own campaign world before, so I’m a little scared and a lot excited over the idea. Best of all I’ll have a chance to play. I just hope I don’t try to back-seat GM or criticize too much.

Christmas has come and gone, and despite not having a lot of money to go around we managed to get gifts for everyone. Mom was thrilled to get Cowboys & Aliens, and we got Jacob a remote control helicopter (which I immediately broke after opening, but I’ll get him a new one come payday). We got mark an iTunes gift card for use with his iPhone and a 6-pack of Lucky Buddha beer (the bottles are shaped like a Buddha and the beer tastes great!). We did a gift exchange with our D&D group as well, which was awesome. I got Bruno, who is new to the game and who I don’t know that well, a 6-pack of Lucky Buddha beer. DeAnna got Marianne a set of spooky shot glasses. Rob made us an ornament made of copper wire which bears our name (we might keep this up year ’round). Shane got me a t-shirt (Sarcasm: the body’s natural defense against stupid) which actually fits. I’m of a large size and impossible to buy clothing for, and this is the first time anyone has bought me a piece of clothing that fit since I was 12. (Not entirely true, but I’m not counting the t-shirt gifts from my friend who already knew my size because he was the same).

Christmas Eve DeAnna and I took a drive around the neighborhood to take a look at all the decorations once more. Right around midnight some had decorated an entire neighborhood with luminaries. It was incredible! Many of them were still lit and they made the night more magical. I have no idea who was responsible for it, but I thank them for such a grand effort, despite the lateness of the hour it did not go unappreciated.

Well, it’s now the new year, and it’s time to pack up our decorations, and hopefully pack up a few things for a potential move in a few years. Provided the world doesn’t come to an end before then of course.

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A Bedtime Story for Parents

Posted July 2nd, 2011 (3:58 am) || Comments Off

“Go the Fuck to Sleep” by Adam Mansbach (illustrated by Ricardo Cortés) is a parody of children’s bedtime story. It is a humorous and exaggerated example of the frustration any parent feels when their little one won’t fall asleep. I recently came across an article on cnn.com regarding the book and some of what I read disturbed me.

The full article can be found here: (http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/06/27/zacharias.kid.book/)

The general gist of the article seems to be along the lines of demonstrating the book isn’t funny because in the real world there are neglected children and parents use the word “fuck” a lot. I’m sure I’m not giving the author (Karen Spears Zacharias, author of “The Shelter of Mockingbirds: The Murder of 3-Year-Old Karly Sheehan.”) proper credit, but at least I’m presenting her writing for what it is.

Zacharias, in my humble opinion, doesn’t seem to understand the point of humor, and may not have a properly developed sense of what is funny. She quotes an expert on child development (Dr. David Arredondo, founder of The Children’s Program in the San Francisco metropolitan area) as saying “Imagine if this were written about Jews, blacks, Muslims or Latinos.” You know something? I can’t imagine it.

Can you imagine anything you’d reasonably expect or desire a Jew, black person, Muslim or Latino to do because they were Jewish, black, Muslim or Latino? Well, can you imagine it without being racist? I can’t. How is expecting your child to go to sleep, and being frustrated he won’t, akin to racism?

Zacharias goes on to say Mansbach’s book “accurately portrays the hostile environment in which too many children grow up.” What? Show me such an environment. The problem here is there is no such environment to be founds within reality. An episode of The Family Guy more accurately portrays an environment (hostile or otherwise) in which children grow up.

Okay, so “far too many” parents say “fuck” and “bullshit” and other such obscenities. I’d question that. I’ve looked into this and I have not found a single American family that did not use such language. Sure, there are some that don’t use those words specifically, but they have words which mean the same thing and they use them.

I’d agree the book “Go the Fuck to Sleep” is not intended for children and it would be bad parenting to use as an actual bedtime story. Not because of the “message” it may send, but because as a society we have deemed the language used without to be inappropriate. But is it demeaning to children? Not at all.

I do think Zacharias sums up her article quite well by implying parents should be more like the parents in “all those beautifully illustrated storybooks.” Sure thing, let’s all get right on that. I’m sure we’ll all be ideal parents by modeling our behavior after the parents of Rapunzel and Cinderella.

And we lived happily ever after.

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My Phone Is Gay

Posted June 25th, 2011 (7:09 am) || 2 Comments

Welp… it’s been a more or less fucked up month.

My cousin, Mark, moved up from Yuma. We’re giving him a play to crash while he looks for work and then saves up enough cash to get his own place. I haven’t seen Mark in… maybe 10ish years. Maybe more like 15. My only solid memories of him are from our grandparents house at Christmas, which was nearly 20 years ago. Funny thing is it turns out that’s his most solid memory of me too. I’m sure having the whole week on film (and recently put on a DVD) has nothing to do with it. Upon getting to know him, I’ve found Mark to be a great guy… meaning he’s an introverted gamer like the rest of us. He’s also motivated and hard working, or at least I get that impression as he got a job within a week of moving in and has already secured his own transportation to and from work.

After Mark had time to settle in (more or less), in came the visiting relatives. Aunt Jill (Marks’ mother) and my godmother, Sherry, came to visit for a few days. Well, Sherry for a few days, with Jill coming up for a few hours. I never really got to know Sherry. She’s my godmother, which in my family means Mom really liked her around the time I was born. Seems she really likes her now too, and the two had a blast playing Scrabble and other games old people play and I’m no good at.

Father’s Day came and went, though Jacob had to be reminded it was here. He’s me son and I love him, but I have to wonder sometimes.

The car’s front brakes went out, but fortunately a friend of ours was kind enough to assist in fixing them (thanks Shane!). Unfortunately when the back brakes went out a week later, we would find our friend missing some necessary tools. I’m not sure what we’re gonna do on such short notice, but hopefully they’ll last long enough to figure out how much it will cost to get them professionally done.

I washed DeAnna’s phone with the laundry. Turns out cell phones don’t take well to water… Who knew? The good news was that one of our phones was due for one of those free upgrades T-Mobile offers its customers periodically. The bad news was T-Mobile changed it’s policy a few months ago and there is no such offer anymore. The best they could due was sell us their cheapest phone for around $60. That sent us into a spin of frustrating, leading to checking out the options for changing carriers, which also lead to us finding out T-Mobile wanted to charge us up to $200 per line to break our contract. That wasn’t going to happen, so we started to look for used phones on Craigslist and eBay. As it turns out, the friend of ours that can fix front brakes had some trouble with his old phone (from T-Mobile) and was happy enough to pass it along to us. Now we’re back to three working phones, with one of them being a smartphone!

Oh yeah, and NY passed it’s Okay to be Gay thing. I’m pretty sure it’s not called that, but apparently it’s now not illegal for a dude to marry a dude there. According to the fine print it also looks like it might not be legal yet either, but it’s a step in the right (or left) direction. In either case, I’m putting up a happy rainbow desktop image on my new phone to celebrate gayness. I suppose I should find an Adam Lambert ring tone or something too…

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GD Holiday Party Pics!

Posted December 22nd, 2010 (7:37 pm) || Comments Off

Err… how about pic? Singular that is. We got the CD with the entirety of the photo shoot, and while that includes all of the final images we’re actually getting prints of, I’m still sorting through it and figuring out which ones I’ll be uploading as is, and which ones I’ll be doing a some additional touch ups on first. For now though, here’s the image we’re getting prints of to send to family and friends:

rcanddeanna

NOTE: I recolored DeAnna’s tie per her request. The tux rental place suggested we both wear red so as to 1) match, and 2) have the ties show up better at a dimly lit party. As the only purple he had was kind of dark, we agreed.

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Mother Was Hit By a Car

Posted September 1st, 2010 (8:30 pm) || 2 Comments

First off, she’s OK… more or less.

The situation: DeAnna had left for work hours ago, and I had just left to walk to the bank. Jacob had left for his karate class. Somewhere in here Mother went up to the store to pick up a few things. Mother uses a motorized wheelchair to get around outside the home (and a bit inside the home too). While on her way home, she was hit broadside by a car exiting a parking lot and shoved into the street. Fortunately there were no oncoming cars at the time, and the collision was slow enough it didn’t cause any true damage to the chair. Mother was able to get back off the street quickly enough, though the experience was likely the most frightening thing to happen to her in a very long time.

I was a mile down the street at a different store when Mother called me and told me what happened. To say I freaked out was an understatement. I had completed my deposit at the bank and was picking up differ for DeAnna and I from the sushi chef there and ended up running out with him trying to ask if I still wanted our sushi.

A mile is a long way to run, and so I called Christine, my ex, who was with Jacob at karate, in hopes she’d be able to come get me. She was just up the street and it would only take a minute to get to me. Unfortunately she didn’t answer her phone. Turns out she’s taking a karate class of her own and couldn’t hear her phone. Luckily there was a bus coming by and even more luckily I had exact change. I suppose even more luckily than that was getting the driver to stop in front of where Mother was hit. I suppose my yelling “stop here! Stop here, my mom was in that accident!” had something to do with it.

I hit the ground running getting off the bus and found Mother in the parking lot, Abby (her service dog) hanging from one arm while paramedics were looking at her other arm. At this time, I had no idea what had happened other than she was hit. To say I was thrilled to see she wasn’t a splattered mess over someone’s hood would be an understatement, though I was still panicking and asking her and everyone around if she was OK.

It looks like the collision was slow enough it did no damage to the chair other than to knock the arm rest out of place, which was quickly fixed, though Mother’s arm was hit and is extremely sore. It’s difficult to say if the pain she’s in is because of the accident, or just due to the anxiety of being in the accident. My sister and I are trying to convince her to see her doctor tomorrow just to get a professional opinion as to whether or not she’s really OK. As it is, she declined a trip to the hospital and was able to make it home in her chair while I walked behind with Abby.

As for the guy who hit her, he seemed to be just as freaked out as Mother was. Rightfully so I imagine. I’d be half a step out of reality upon realization I’d used a car to shove an elderly woman in a wheelchair into traffic. No citation was issued by the police, though I’m not entirely certain why. There seemed to be enough witnesses who agreed the guy wasn’t looking where he was going as he pulled out of the parking lot. I suppose part of it is that Mother wasn’t “really” injured and there was no “real” damage to the chair (or the car, but who cares about the car at this point?). The  guy, Bruce if I recall, gave us his contact info should we need anything and was very vocal in his willingness to take responsibility for what happened.

The police suggested Mother get some reflectors and perhaps a flag to place on her chair to make it more visible. I suggested Mother call Bruce to see if he’ll supply them for her.

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